Monday, 22 August 2011

On foot!!!.....

With my hand/fingers now healed I had been looking forward to accumulating some much needed miles on the bike. My fitness, stamina and speed are all markedly diminished, getting out and on the road would be the appropriate elixir.

There was however a new issue to be considered. I have a dog to look after.

Fizz is from a previous life. She is with me for a week while her owners are away on holiday. I'm okay with that, the idea of having a dog for a week and then handing it back seems altogether the best way to go. But of course it does mean 'walking' now has to make a return into my daily time allocations. Inevitably that has to mean less riding (I think).

So, on Saturday Cate and I decided we would take the dog out for a long walk, we'd wear her out. We consulted maps, picked out a route, I got my camera, we had a little rucksack and off we went, straight out of the door and away. No driving. We had planned a route march of some 8 miles or so, some of it along the road but mostly on green footpaths, it was a lovely bright day, sun, clear blue sky, perfect.

It's been a while since I've done any walking, okay, obviously I have walked, but you know what I mean. The sort of walking where it is for it's own sake, where it is meant as a pleasant distraction, a time for reflection perhaps, breathing the fresh air, looking at things, taking time...... definitely not a shopping trip.

It all went splendidly well. We stopped to wonder over wild flowers, struggling to identify them. We collected blackberries and Sloes from the hedgerows as well as various varieties of plums and apples. We walked past farms and peered into the cavernous barns, along canals and watched the boats, we saw many farm animals, lots of trees and not many people. It was great. And at the end we sat outside a pub and enjoyed a couple of pints of exceptional Timothy Taylor 'Landlord' and Hook Norton 'Old Hooky' along with a platter of nibbles. We walked back and our plan had worked - the dog collapsed in a heap and seemed to be in some sort of coma. We sat down with a cuppa and quickly followed.

I think it would be fair to say that walking is fine if you have lots of time to spare. Certainly you do 'see' more. Those people who think you see more on a bike are wrong really. On a bike you see a little bit more than if you're in a car, but what with concentrating on looking out for potholes, being aware of vehicles or other cyclists and generally staying on the right lines, you don't really see that much on a bike - especially if you're riding fast. With walking you see everything, you stop to look, you check a map, you look at an iPhone App, you turn around and look back etc etc - but it's sloooow - I could have got to the pub and back on my bike in about 20 minutes - job done. This expedition seemed to take most of the day! - Then there's the pain.

I woke the next morning and thought my legs had caught fire. I had aches and pains and hobbling to the loo gave me an idea of what it's like to be a geriatric. My feet felt like they'd been massaged with an angle-grinder and my lower back creaked like an old barn door. Worst of all the dog was sitting there waiting to be taken for a walk.

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